January 8, 2018 Monday Night RAW

January 8, 2018 Monday Night RAW

Kane attacked Universal Champion Brock Lesnar

may be the living embodiment of single-minded destruction, but even he knows beating Brock Lesnar is going to require some strategy. But while The Big Red Machine certainly showed his smarts by offering Braun Strowman the chance to join forces as WWE’s “alpha monsters” and take down Lesnar at Royal Rumble, The Monster Among Men remained firmly on Team Braun.

So, when Lesnar and Paul Heyman arrived to ring in “The Year of The Beast” and promise domination at Royal Rumble despite the “stacked deck” Lesnar had to fight through once again, Kane made it a point to interfere.

Strowman was nowhere to be found when The Devil’s Favorite Demon hit the scene (he was watching from the backstage area), but Kane held his ground against The Beast Incarnate anyway, planting Lesnar with a thunderous Chokeslam that seemingly put him down … until Lesnar sat bolt upright a la The Big Red Machine himself and sent his foe tumbling over the top rope, instigating a fight at ringside that required most of the locker room to quell as Raw went off the air.

Roman Reigns almost gets DQ’d but beats Samoa Joe clean instead

Roman Reigns’ weekly IC title challenge got an added stipulation tonight (Jan. 1) on Raw versus Samoa Joe. One week removed from Reigns getting himself disqualified for severely beating Joe, Raw GM Kurt Angle’s new wrinkle to this week’s match stated if The Big Dog again lost by DQ he would lose his title.

The Reigns and Joe IC championship bout would play itself out over two commercial breaks.

Joe would jump out to an early advantage thanks to a combination of strikes and suplexes.

With over 20 minutes of ring time shared, the story shifted to Roman Reigns getting closer and closer to getting himself DQ’d. On the outside Reigns nearly used the steel steps then back in the ring Joe pushed the champion into the ref.

After Reigns kicked out of an uranage and escaped a locked in Coquina Clutch from Joe, all it took was one spear to layout the challenger for good.

Has Reigns had a bad IC title match to date?

Closing in on a two month IC title reign, if Samoa Joe can’t do it who will eventually take the belt off Roman Reigns?

Am I the only one? Asuka vs. Alexa Bliss; Club reunion; replay in WWE

Every week, Kevin Eck will run down his burning thoughts from “RAW,” “SmackDown Live” and the rest of the pro wrestling world.

‘RAW’ thoughts

Am I the only one who …

… thinks Asuka should’ve gone over stronger on Alexa Bliss?

I get it that Bliss is is the “RAW” Women’s Champion and all, but with her diminutive size and chickens— heel character, this non-title match should not have been as competitive as it was and went on for 15 minutes.

Asuka is badass unlike any other woman in WWE and needs to be booked as such. And Bliss needs to be booked as a vulnerable champion, not as the second coming of Mildred Burke (Google it, kids).

I’m not sure why WWE gave away this match on TV with no buildup anyway, but I certainly don’t think Asuka selling as much as she did for Bliss did “The Empress of Tomorrow” any favors even though she pinned the champion.

… isn’t overly excited about a potential reunion between Finn Balor, Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson?

  • It remains to be seen whether Balor teaming up with former “Club” teammates Gallows and Anderson was a one-off or something more permanent,
  • but Gallows and Anderson have been so devalued in WWE that I’m not sure that even putting them with Balor can salvage them.
  • Moreover, even though Balor, Gallows and Anderson were members of the original Bullet Club in New Japan Pro-Wrestling several years ago,
  • they just don’t come across as being nearly as cool as current Bullet Club guys such as Kenny Omega, The Young Bucks and Marty Scurll.

… wonders why it’s OK to repeatedly slam an opponent’s head into the ring steps but picking up the steps and using them as a weapon would warrant a disqualification?

This scenario occurred during the no-disqualification match between Roman Reigns and Samoa Joe (which was a great match, by the way). I think the WWE rules committee needs to take a hard look at this inconsistency at the annual WWE rules committee meetings. I hear they’re being held in the famous pro wrestling town Parts Unknown again this year.

… took my finger off the fast-forward button the moment Goldust came out as Cedric Alexander’s surprise tag partner?

Without Enzo Amore on this episode, I was going to skip the cruiserweight match until Goldie showed up. I still enjoy watching him work after all these years. It’s a shame WWE failed to follow through on giving Goldust a meaningful run after his heel turn. Speaking of which, is Goldust a babyface again? Just please tell me The Golden Truth won’t be reuniting.

… thinks Dana Brooke looks awkward in everything she does?

I’m not trying to be mean here, but whether Brooke is delivering dialogue, making a facial expression or even standing on the ring apron, none of it comes across as natural. I think Brooke may have gone to the Major Gunns School of Acting .

‘SmackDown Live’ thoughts

Am I the only one who …

… wondered why the tag team title match between The Usos and Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamin was restarted?

It appeared that Gable and Benjamin had won the tag team titles, but the match was restarted after a replay showed that neither man involved in the pinfall was legal. In the real world, that makes sense. In the pro wrestling word, however, it’s a slippery slope.

  • Can you imagine if every match that had a controversial finish in WWE was subject to replay?
  • The heels would almost never win. Of course, that won’t happen, which is why it was so nonsensical for WWE to use replay in an isolated incident.
  • On a positive note, at least we now know that the use of replay in WWE results in the right call being made —
  •  unlike how replay works in a certain other sport.

… thinks it’s odd that heel announcer Corey Graves is the voice of reason in regard to the Shane McMahon-Daniel Bryan conflict?

While babyface announcers Byron Saxton and Tom Phillips continually accuse Bryan of showing favoritism to Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn, Graves rightfully points out that McMahon is a hothead and has admitted to having a vendetta against Owens and Zayn. Graves comes off as the only one who will tell it like it is. As for Saxton and Phillips, I’ve just got two words to describe their brand of broadcast journalism.

On a side note, I don’t necessarily believe that Bryan making AJ Styles defend the WWE Title against Owens and Zayn in a handicap match at the “Royal Rumble” pay-per-view means that he is embracing the dark side. My guess is that Bryan made the match because he knows there’s no honor among thieves. The stipulation will likely be that only the man who pins Styles or forces him to submit becomes champion. Owens and Zayn will both want to be champion, and that will lead to their downfall.

… wonders why Aiden English was in the United States Title Tournament and Rusev was not?

For that matter, why weren’t top stars such as Shinsuke Nakamura, Randy Orton, Owens and Zayn in the tournament instead of mid-card guys such as Tye Dillinger, Mojo Rawley, Zack Ryder and Xavier Woods? WWE has done a really good job the past few years of making the Intercontinental and U.S. titles feel important, so it’s surprising they went with such a weak field.

… thinks The Bludgeon Brothers could use a manager?

I know the powers that be in WWE think managers are passe, but there’s something missing from this act and I think a mouthpiece could be the answer. Somebody in Stamford needs to get “Sinister Minister” James Mitchell on the phone ASAP.

Miscellaneous thought

Am I the only one who …

… thinks this photo Colt Cabana posted on his social media is the Photo of the Year?

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